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43 Unknown Facts About Carl Lewis – The Former Track And Field Athlete

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Carl Lewis is an American former track and field athlete, who topped the world rankings in the 100m, 200m and long jump events frequently from 1981 to the early 1990s. Here are 43 facts about the athlete:

Former Olympian Carl Lewis arrives at the 'Jubilee!' show's grand reopening at Ballys Las Vegas on March 29, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(Photo : Bryan Steffy/WireImage) Former Olympian Carl Lewis arrives at the 'Jubilee!' show's grand reopening at Ballys Las Vegas on March 29, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  1. Lewis is a long jumper and sprinter who set the track on fire in 100m, 200m, and in long jump events. He has won 10 Olympic medals, nine of which are gold and 10 World championship medals, including eight gold medals.
  2. He was born on July 01, 1961 in Brimingham, Alabama to William and Evelyn Lewis. His mother was hurdler. He was named Frederick Carlton Lewis.
  3. His father was his first coach, in the local athletic club run by his parents. He has a sister Carol, also an Olympian long jumper.
  4. He did his schooling at Willingboro High School, New Jersey and was coached by Andy Dudek and Paul Minore. By the age of 13, he started competing and achieved all time high ranking of fourth in the World Junior list of long jumpers.
  5. He joined the University of Houston and was coached by Tom Tellez. In 1979, he broke the high school record with a leap of 8.13m.
    Gold Medalist Carl Lewis
    (Photo : NBCU Photo Bank) Gold Medalist Carl Lewis
  6. In 1980, Lewis won the National Collegiate Athletic Association title with a jump of 8.35m. He was suffering from old knee pain which he overcame with better technique working his coach Tellez.
  7. His main event was long jump, but he was being recognized for his sprinting talent. He qualified for the 1980 Moscow Olympic in long jump and as a member of 100m relay team.
  8. On July 1980, in the Liberty Bell Classic, Philadelphia meet, he won bronze in long jump with a jump of 7.77m and 100m relay gold. He was ranked top in the world in both long jump and sprint.
  9. He improved his personal best in the long jump in the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championship. He improved by half meter by leaping 8.62m (28 3¼).
  10. Even though high altitude records are recognized officially, he was not keen to participate in the high altitude competitions. He became world’s fastest sprinter, when he won the 100m in 10s on May 16, 1981 at the Southwest Conference Championship, Dallas. It was the third fastest time in the world.
    Olympic medalist Carl Lewis poses for a picture during the Team USA Road to Rio Tour presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance on July 4, 2015 at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    (Photo : Mitchell Leff/Getty Images for the USOC) Olympic medalist Carl Lewis poses for a picture during the Team USA Road to Rio Tour presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance on July 4, 2015 at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  11. He was awarded the 1981 James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the U.S. He won his first national title in 100m and long jump, to be ranked No.1 in the world in both events.
  12. His dominance in the long jump raised the hope of eclipsing long standing Bob Beamon’s record. Lewis cleared 8.7m at Indianapolis on July 24, 1982 to become the third all time longest jumper in the world. He had cleared 8.53m seven times during the year.
  13. When he set his personal best of 8.76m at Indianapolis, he had three foul jumps considered to be well over 9.14m. He fouled with his toe just over the board.
  14. In 1983, at Helsinki, participating in the first World Championship in Athletics, he took long jump gold with a jump of 8.55m and ran the 100m in 10.07s to relegate Calvin Smith to silver medal. He also anchored USA to a new world record and his first in 100m relay.
  15. His dominance in the sprint was complete in the athletic meet at Modesto on May 14. He became the first person to run 100m under 10 seconds, when clocked 9.97s in low altitude. On June 19, he set new low altitude record in the long jump too with 8.79m.
    Carl Lewis (915) of the US wins Heat 7 of the first round of qualifying heats for Monday's final. At left is Julien Thode (001) of the Netherlands Antilles.
    (Photo : Bettmann/Getty Images) Carl Lewis (915) of the US wins Heat 7 of the first round of qualifying heats for Monday's final. At left is Julien Thode (001) of the Netherlands Antilles.
  16. Lewis was named ‘Athlete of the Year 1983’ by Track and Field News. He was ranked number one, in long jump, 100m and number two in 200m.
  17. He won four gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics to match Jesse Owens’ record set in Berlin Olympic Games in 1936. He won gold in Long Jump, 100m, 200m and in the 100m relay.
  18. His time of 19.80s in the 200m is an Olympic record and third fastest of the year. He also broke world record in the 4x100 relay, anchoring in a time of 37.83s.
  19. Much was expected of him to break the long standing Bob Beamon’s record in long jump at 1984 Olympics. After taking one legal jump of 8.54m, he passed his remaining jump, with gold medal assured. He was jeered for his act.
  20. After the 1984 Olympic achievements, he did not receive lucrative endorsement, what he had expected. The perception that he was egoistic with lack of humility in addition to him being compared to pop star Michael Jackson by his agent didn’t go well with the public.

  21. Lewis flattop haircut to go with flashy clothing substantiated the rumors that he was a homosexual. The Coca-Cola Company which was interested earlier did not sign him and his sponsors Nike dropped the contract due to his new negative image.
  22. He was ranked number 1 in all the three events, 100m, 200m and long jump by the year end. For the third year in succession he was awarded the Athlete of the Year by Track & Field News.
  23. Lewis who has never played basketball or football was picked as the 208th pick in the 10th round by Chicago Bulls. A poll on the website ranked Lewis as the second most unusual pick in the history of NBA Draft.
  24. By 1986, he was challenged in the 100m by Ben Johnson and in the long jump by Robert Emmiyan. In the Goodwill Games at Moscow, he was relegated to bronze medal by Johnson who set a new low-altitude record of 9.95s in 100m. He was ranked second by year end in both sprint and long jump.
  25. In the 1987 World Athletic Championship at Rome, he concentrated on his main event long jump skipping 200m. He leaped to gold medal in the long jump, with a leap of 8.67m. But in 100m he was beaten to silver medal with a time of 9.93s.
  26. After losing to Johnson in the 100m, he called for Track & Field to eliminate the illegal use of performance enhancing drugs. He was of the opinion that some of the sprinters are in to drugs.
    Carl Lewis attends the 18th Annual Best Buddies Miami Gala: Southeast Asia at Fontainebleau Miami Beach on November 21, 2014 in Miami Beach, Florida.
    (Photo : Larry Marano/Getty Images) Carl Lewis attends the 18th Annual Best Buddies Miami Gala: Southeast Asia at Fontainebleau Miami Beach on November 21, 2014 in Miami Beach, Florida.
  27. He lost his father, William McKinley Lewis Jr., who was his great motivator. He placed his 1984 Olympic gold medal on his father before burying him. He asked his mother not to worry as he will get to earn another one.
  28. Lewis set a new American record with a time of 9.92s to claim the silver in 100m in the 1988 Olympics at Seoul. He was awarded the gold medal after Ben Johnson was disqualified for testing positive for drug use.
  29. He won the long jump gold with a leap of 8.72m, a low altitude Olympic best time and took silver in the 200m with a time of 19.79s. The Americans were disqualified in the 100m relay because of baton exchange fumble. It was a lackluster Olympics for Lewis at Seoul.
  30. In 1991 World Championship, Tokyo, he faced stiff competition from Burrell and Stewart. He won the gold with world record time of 9.86s to savor his moment at the time of achievement. He achieved this at the age of thirty with better technique and speed. It was the best race of his life.
  31. His showdown with Mike Powel in the long jump at 1991 World Championship is considered as the greatest competition. He had not lost a long jump competition for over a decade, winning 65 consecutive meets.
    Carl Lewis flashes across the finish line here, giving the U.S. 400M Relay Team the Gold Medal in the world's record time of 37.83 seconds. For Lewis, it was his fourth Gold Medal of the games.
    (Photo : Bettmann/Getty Images) Carl Lewis flashes across the finish line here, giving the U.S. 400M Relay Team the Gold Medal in the world's record time of 37.83 seconds. For Lewis, it was his fourth Gold Medal of the games.
  32. The competition between Lewis and Powell was so intense at Tokyo, that each set their personal best jump only to be eclipsed by the other in the next round. He leaped to wind aided 8.91m for Powel to respond with 8.95m legal jump, to set a new world record eclipsing 23 year old mark of Bob Beamon.
  33. His performance in the long jump pit on that day prompted Track & Field News to note that, “It is hard to argue that he is not the greatest athlete ever to set foot on the track and field.” He shared the ‘1991 ABC’s Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year’ award.
  34. Lewis’ performance started to decline by 1992. He did not qualify for the Olympic in 100m and 200m sprint. He competed in the long jump and 100m relay to claim gold medal. His time of 8.85s in the anchor leg of relay is the fastest officially recorded anchor leg.
  35. His bronze medal in 200m at 4th World Championship at Stuttgart in 1993 would prove to be his last medal in the major competition in track events. He ran in a time of 19.99 seconds.
  36. He set a record for American athlete to qualify in an event for the fifth time to the Olympics. He won the gold in the long jump with a jump of 8.50m at 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He is also one of the three Olympian to win the same individual event four times.

  37. After winning the gold medal in long jump, Lewis wanted to run the 100m relay, even though he was not part of it from the beginning. He wanted to end his career with the most Olympic gold medal by winning the 100m relay. He was excluded and US finished with silver medal.
  38. He was one among the 100m athletes who were found to have consumed banned substance according to USOC‘s Director of Drug Control Administration. He was allowed to participate after his claim of inadvertent use.
  39. He acted in numerous film and television production such as “Perfect Stranger,” “Speed Zone,” “Alien Hunter,” “Material Links” and “The Weakest Link.” His last movie was “The Last Adam” in 2006.
  40. On April 11 2011, he filed his petition for New Jersey Senate. He was disqualified on the ground that he did not reside in New Jersey for four years.
  41. Lewis is a Vegan and has credited his 1991 results to it. He believes switching to Vegan can lead to athletic performance. Veganism is the practice of abstaining from use of animal product including egg and dairy product.
    Track and field legend Carl Lewis kicks off the French Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and AS Monaco at Parc des Princes stadium on October 5, 2014 in Paris, France.
    (Photo : Jean Catuffe/Getty Images) Track and field legend Carl Lewis kicks off the French Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and AS Monaco at Parc des Princes stadium on October 5, 2014 in Paris, France.
  42. His was voted ‘World Athlete of the Century’ by International Association of Athletic Federations.
  43. He was named as ‘Sportsman of the Century’ by the International Olympic committee.

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